5 frames with...

5 Frames with a Canon A-1 – By Ollie Lattin

October 15, 2018

I started shooting film last year, and I’ve been pretty obsessed with it since then. After experimenting with a cheap Samsung AF zoom for a month and getting very mediocre results, I decided to invest in a higher-grade camera.

After scanning eBay for hours, I came across a Canon A-1 in incredible cosmetic condition, complete with an FD 50mm f1.8 lens and an FD 35-150mm zoom lens. The 50mm lens is in great condition besides some dust inside the lens and the zoom lens has been maintained quite well, with slightly more dust inside of it (I am planning to get both serviced very soon).

I ran a roll through my A-1 with some excellent results, however, I will be getting the body serviced as well as the lenses due to the fact that there’s some dust on the mirror and there’s some classic ‘Canon cough’, a regular occurrence in 70s Canons, unfortunately. Despite these minor issues, my A-1 is a fantastic camera and FD lenses are of course excellent in clarity and focus. The 50mm produces very well balanced bokeh too.

I set myself a task: Get through at least 6 rolls of film during the summer, two of which have to be black and white. I had some perfect opportunities too. A trip to London, a week in Italy, and four days in Berlin.

I managed to use more rolls of film than I intended to over the summer, especially in Berlin where I used three rolls in one day – the amount I’d intended for the duration of my trip! Luckily, we found an excellent camera store in Berlin called FOTOIMPEX, which had an incredible amount of stock. If you’re ever in Berlin, do check it out! There were some really unique second-hand cameras, and I caught a glimpse of a Leica M6; not exactly rare in Germany I suppose…

Anyway, here are 5 of my favourite shots from my various trips. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in my work, do give my instagram account a follow: @lattinphoto

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  • Reply
    Dave Walker
    October 15, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Very nice Ollie. I cut my teeth on an A-1, too, and I loved it! In the end, it toppled from a tripod whilst carrying a heavy flash, and I replaced it with an F-1N (which is also amazing). Now, after many years of heavy use, the F-1N is looking a little bruised as well… still seems to work OK, though!

    • Reply
      Ollie Lattin
      October 16, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Dave. These Canons are pretty indestructible from what I have heard and read. I have to admit I did drop mine and it didn’t even leave a dent, incredibly!

      What a sad end for your A-1, However you definitely replaced it with a higher grade camera. (am quite jealous)

  • Reply
    Karl Valentin
    October 16, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Well I started my photography journey with a Canon too
    The Canon AE 1 on the other side was not close to the build
    of the more professional Canon A
    Compared to the cameras and lenses Canon made before both still
    don’t come close to this incredible master pieces of craftsmanship
    of a Canon F 1 (old) or Canon Ftb and the Canon FL lenses
    Sorry but I am still a sucker for mechanical masterpieces and at this period Canon build quality they never reached after again

    • Reply
      Ollie Lattin
      October 16, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Hi Karl,

      The A-1 is great but I couldn’t agree more that the F1 is of a much higher quality (hence the pricetag). I was looking for an Ftb originally but I felt the A1 suited my needs quite substantially better.

      Anyway, thanks for reading my article.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2018 at 12:56 am

    Love my A-1 the most out of all the SLRs I own. It’s my “work” camera. If you are US based I would be happy to get rid of the Canon Squeal for you!

    • Reply
      Ollie Lattin
      October 21, 2018 at 1:01 am

      Hi Mike, thanks a lot for the offer but I’m unfortunately UK based!

  • Reply
    January 1, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Lovely images! I particularly like your Vespa image, it is quite evocative. I gave my beloved Canon AE-1 to my 23 year old son who has discovered film photography. I now shoot with a Fuji X-T1 and find that the Classic Chrome setting produces images that have the same character as film.

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